Do you know what today is? It’s the first day of Financial Literacy Month here in Canada!
Wait, you’re not doing a happy dance right now!? That’s just me? Well, maybe my excitement will rub off on some of you.
In the finance world, there’s a lot of jargon and even more math. For that reason, as well as the fact that basic financial concepts aren’t really taught in school and that we live in a consumerist society, it’s no surprise the average consumer debt load carried by Canadians is more than $27,000 ($38,000 if you’re in B.C.). It’s also not surprising, but unfortunate, that only 36% of Ontarians achieved a passing grade on their ability to apply basic financial concepts in 2012. The goal of Financial Literacy Month is to shed some light on the level of financial literacy across the country, and inspire people to get educated and make a change.
The simple definition of being financially literate is when you have the knowledge, skills and confidence to make responsible financial decisions. Growing up, my parents pushed their knowledge on me… but I didn’t have the skills, and I definitely didn’t have the confidence to make the right decisions. I followed by the examples of my peers, hung out with friends who encouraged me to spend and made some really, really poor financial choices! I may be debt-free today, but now I’m in a whole new world where I’m learning how to save, how much to save and why it’s so important to do so.
Because I’m still learning so much myself, you’ll find that most of my posts this month are dedicated to Financial Literacy Month in some way. I already have a few posts scheduled, including one about the lessons I wish I’d been taught in school, as well as things 28-year-old me would tell 20-year-old me. And I’m also going to write a post or two about some of those big, crazy dreams I have about getting personal finance a bigger spot in B.C.’s Education IRPs, and touring the country to talk to high school and college students about debt and the importance of budgeting. (I told you, I have crazy dreams!)
I’d also love to share some of the great research that different schools and organizations have done around financial literacy in Canada, especially as it pertains to youth. Are you doing something cool for Financial Literacy Month? Or do you know of an organization, a business or an individual who is? Send me an email! I want to hear about it.
The low of my week was… nothing. No complaints here.
The high of my week was being interviewed with Bridget by Gail Vaz-Oxlade for today’s episode of The Current on CBC Radio. Despite some of the not-so-great financial decisions Bridget and I once made, the interview was full of laughter. You can listen to it here.
A blog post I loved was Understanding Your Money Beliefs, written by my friend Kayla over on the ReadyForZero blog. Do you ever think about how the messages you received about money as a child helped form your thoughts about it as an adult? She did, and it’s worth the read.
The best money I spent was… I don’t know, $3.50 for a hot chocolate after a long walk in the rain!? I barely spent any money this week! Let’s say the $330 I put away for retirement then, shall we?
My plans this weekend include having a friend (who is only a friend because she’s a longtime reader turned pen pal – gotta love the Internet) and her husband from Portland crash with me tonight, and then packing my bags and heading home to Victoria for 3 whole weeks. (More on that next week!)
How was your week? What are you up to this weekend?